Recently, while stumping for a Democrat gubernatorial candidate in Virginia, former President Barack Obama asserted that the GOP is engaged in an attempt to “systematically prevent ordinary citizens” from voting. This is as false as it is absurd, deserving of rebuke in the strongest possible terms. The former president knowingly advances the empty Democrat lie that the GOP engages in voter suppression, particularly against minorities. This is a purely emotional ploy, predictably marked by an implicit charge of racism.
We North Carolinians are quite familiar with how even the most basic protections, such as confirming a voter’s identification, have been twisted by the likes of Obama and the Democratic Party into a fanciful falsehood. Seemingly, for the sole purpose of smearing Republicans and labeling their efforts as Jim Crow 2.0.
Think about how this: Joe Biden, who was cozy with segregationists while in the United States Senate, calls Republican efforts to ensure early voting is conducted in a secure way and to implement identification requirements for absentee ballots, akin to Jim Crow laws. Of course, this is as ridiculous as it is offensive to the actual champions who defeated Jim Crow.
You’ll notice that Obama and other Democrats do not discuss data when asserting the false narrative of “voter suppression.” The reason is, quite simply, the numbers tell an entirely different story. If you look at the participation of black voters in the South since 2008, it is at parity with white voters and in some cases surpasses that of white voters. In 2012 nationally, black voters participated at a higher rate than white Americans. Both the Pew Research Center and Gallup indicate that even in states with Voter ID, Black Americans vote at or near the same rate as White Americans. Indeed, even in states where voter ID is the law of the land, there is no evidence that such common-sense election integrity measures affect any suppression of black or minority voter participation.
The desperate and unconstitutional schemes hatched by Democrats in the eleventh hour before the 2020 elections now serve to exacerbate the audacity of Obama and others on the left to further advance their false narrative. In several states around the country, including North Carolina, Democrats used the cover of COVID to bypass state legislatures and dramatically expand mail-in voting, weaken signature requirements, and arbitrarily extend ballot acceptance far beyond election day. Those schemes were accomplished in North Carolina by way of collusion between the Democrat Attorney General, the Democrat governor’s partisan State Board of Elections, and Democrats’ favorite shill attorney, Marc Elias. Ballot integrity might have been lost completely in our State were it not for the timely legal actions brought by Republicans to protect your ballot.
In other swing states, under the same guise, similar last-minute changes were rammed through by rogue executive officials such as Pennsylvania’s Secretary of State. The result was the largest mail-in vote percentage in history, a method of voting that our very own Democrat N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein described in 2018 as “where the bulk of fraud occurs.” It should be no surprise, then, that voters in North Carolina have serious trust issues. In March, a poll published by the John Locke Foundation revealed election integrity as the second most important issue to voters after only the “economy and jobs.” Alarmingly, less than half of respondents reported their belief that the 2022 elections would be free and fair. A whopping 40 percent probably, or definitely believe 2022 elections will not be free and fair.
And as for the common-sense election integrity measures Republicans advocate for, they are supported by strong majorities across the board. According to Rasmussen Reports, 75% of Americans support Voter ID laws. This includes whites (74%), blacks (69%) and other minorities (82%) that say voters should be required to show photo identification before being allowed to cast a ballot. Voters under 40 support voter ID laws more than do older voters.
It is in this context that Obama tells voters in Virginia and around the nation that any changes to voting rules in the pursuit of restoring voter confidence in election integrity amounts, instead, to dramatic voter suppression by Republicans. It’s a lie. With no evidence. Backed up by nothing. Time and again we’ve witnessed Democrats conspicuously move the goalposts, under false pretenses, and proceed to label any effort to move them back as racist voter suppression.
This is gas-lighting of the first order, as well as being profoundly irresponsible.
Honestly, this is nothing new. The Democrat Party is doing what they always do: employing the most intellectually dishonest and reckless emotional ploy from their playbook. Frankly, they have nothing else to offer.
Republicans do have more to offer. They should not and will not submit to this false narrative on election integrity, as Obama and the left wish they would. Certainly not us Republicans here in North Carolina. When confronted with these smears we must stand tall and unfazed in the pursuit of election integrity. We will not turn a blind eye to the people of this state that have understandably lost trust in our elections after Democrats have made a mockery of the Constitution and the Rule of Law.
Democrats yell at the top of their lungs about voter suppression, but I ask you: What voter suppression? The facts tell a different story.
Republicans are working tirelessly to restore voters’ confidence in the ballot box; to restore common-sense election rules; and, to restore the trust North Carolina citizens deserve to have in our institutions.
Our goal should be, and is, to make it easier to vote, but harder to cheat.
Harold Eustache is the vice chair of the Forsyth County GOP, chair of the NCGOP restoring voter confidence subcommittee, president of the Winston-Salem Bar Association and a National Black Lawyers Top 40 Under 40